Cubs

Finally: The Cubs are World Series champions

Finally: The Cubs are World Series champions

CLEVELAND - You've waited your whole life to see these words:

The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series.

The Cubs are champions. 

Let that soak in. For a long while.

The 108-year drought is over.

The moment millions upon millions of people dreamed about for their entire lives is here. It's actually here.

This is not a dream. You are not asleep. 

It just took a little longer.

Well, maybe a LOT longer.

The Cubs were dealt one more blow of gut-wrenching misery when Rajai Davis deposited Aroldis Chapman's 97 mph fastball onto the Home Run Porch in left field to tie the game.

And then extra innings happened.

And then a 17-minute rain delay happened.

And then Kyle Schwarber happened. And Albert Almora Jr. And Ben Zobrist. And Miguel Montero.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

The Cubs had a host of heroes in the top of the 10th inning as they battled for an 8-7 victory in an impossibly thrilling Game 7 that started Wednesday night and stretched into Thursday morning in Cleveland. 

The Cubs pulled the rug out from underneath an Indians team that had built a 3-1 lead in the series.

After all the Cubs fanbase had been through, what a way to end it all: Rallying with their backs against the wall for a Game 7 victory.

Of course it had to be Game 7. Of course it went to extra innings.

Everybody had to know this wasn't going to be easy.

Screw narratives. The five-hour affair that took place at Progressive Field on Nov. 2 and 3 was the greatest baseball game ever played. Don't even try to argue that.

As Wrigleyville hosted the first World Series games on Chicago's North Side since 1945, the anxiety and tension was through the roof. 

That pressure filtered onto the field, where the Cubs dropped the first two games, leaving fans depressed and bewildered Saturday night.

But by the time everybody recovered and woke up Sunday morning, the hope and positivity was back. 

Fans came out in droves to write their wishful thoughts on the brick wall outside Wrigley and everybody watched as the Cubs held off the Indians in a pressure-packed 3-2 victory in Game 5.

That shifted all the pressure onto the Indians, and the Cubs took full advantage.

After a Game 6 throttling, Dexter Fowler got the party in Wrigleyville started early Wednesday night with a solo homer off Corey Kluber to start the game.

The Cubs built out a 5-1 lead before the fifth, but the Indians kept battling back, eventually evening the score in the eighth off Chapman.

After no scoring in the ninth, Kyle Schwarber started out the 10th after a rain delay with a single through the shift.

Almora Jr. pinch-ran for him and tagged up on Kris Bryant's fly ball to the wall in center. Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked before Zobrist drilled a go-ahead double down the left-field line.

Montero later added the game-winning single through the drawn-in infield for insurance.

Rookie Carl Edwards Jr. recorded the first two outs in the ninth inning before surrendering a walk and an RBI single by Davis. Mike Montgomery came in to nail down the save by retiring Michael Martinez.

What a game. 

What an ending. 

What a season.

See you all at the parade in Chicago.

It's gonna be lit.

More on the World Series victory

--Joy to the World: Cubs finally end 108-year Series drought

--Finally: The Cubs are World Series champs

--The wait –and the weight- is over: Cubs fans celebrate World Series title

--Barack Obama congratulates Cubs World Series championship

--Famous Cubs fans celebrate World Series title on Twitter

--Ben Zobrist becomes first Cub ever to win World Series MVP

--Numbers game: statistical oddities of the Cubs World Series title

--Jed Hoyer: Rain delay was ‘divine intervention’ for Cubs

​--Fans give Cubs a taste of home in Cleveland

--Ben Zobrist delivers exactly what the Cubs expected with massive World Series

--‘Dreams come true’: Bill Murray reacts to Cubs winning the World Series

--Big surprise: Kyle Schwarber plays hero again for Cubs in World Series Game 7

- Ryne Sandberg: World Series ‘made it able for me to live in the present

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

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USA TODAY

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

"Of course," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said in the middle of the National League Championship Series — he would like his coaches back in 2018. Pitching coach Chris Bosio told the team's flagship radio station this week that the staff expected to return next year. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein didn't go that far during Friday afternoon's end-of-season news conference at Wrigley Field, but he did say: "Rest assured, Joe will have every coach back that he wants back."

That's Cub: USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale first reported Saturday morning that Bosio had been fired, a source confirming the team declined a club contract option for next year and made a major influence on the Wrigleyville rebuild a free agent. Epstein and Bosio did not immediately respond to text messages and the club has not officially outlined the shape of the 2018 coaching staff.

Those exit meetings on Friday at Wrigley Field are just the beginning of an offseason that could lead to sweeping changes, with the Cubs looking to replace 40 percent of their rotation, identify an established closer (whether or not that's Wade Davis), find another leadoff option and maybe break up their World Series core of hitters to acquire pitching. 

The obvious candidate to replace Bosio is Jim Hickey, Maddon's longtime pitching coach with the Tampa Bay Rays who has Chicago roots and recently parted ways with the small-market franchise that stayed competitive by consistently developing young arms like David Price and Chris Archer.

Of course, Maddon denied that speculation during an NLCS where the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs in every phase of the game and the manager's bullpen decisions kept getting second-guessed.

Bosio has a big personality and strong opinions that rocked the boat at times, but he brought instant credibility as an accomplished big-league pitcher who helped implement the team's sophisticated game-planning system.

Originally a Dale Sveum hire for the 2012 season/Epstein regime Year 1 where the Cubs lost 101 games, Bosio helped coach up and market short-term assets like Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija. 

Those win-later trades combined with Bosio's expertise led to a 2016 major-league ERA leader (Kyle Hendricks) and a 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner (Jake Arrieta) plus setup guys Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. and All-Star shortstop Addison Russell.

Bosio helped set the foundation for the group that won last year's World Series and has made three consecutive trips to the NLCS. But as the Cubs are going to find out this winter, there is a shelf life to everything, even for those who made their mark during a golden age of baseball on the North Side.

Report: Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio after six seasons with team

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USA TODAY

Report: Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio after six seasons with team

In Theo Epstein's end of season press conference on Friday he said that any coach Joe Maddon wants back will return in 2018.

Evidently, there's one coach Maddon didn't want back.

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Cubs have fired longtime pitching coach Chris Bosio.

Bosio served as the Cubs pitching coach from 2012-17. He was the team's pitching coach under former managers' Dale Sveum (2012-13) and Rick Renteria (2014), and was retained when Maddon was hired as manager of the Cubs in 2015.

Bosio, who is one of the most respected pitching coaches in baseball, was instrumental in the career resurgence of Jake Arrieta who captured the Cy Young award in 2015, and the development of 27-year-old starter Kyle Hendricks (MLB's ERA leader in 2016).

One reason that could've led to Bosio's firing was the pitching staff's control issues during both the regular season and postseason, which Epstein mentioned during Friday's press conference. The Cubs issued the fifth-most walks (554) in the National League during the regular season and the highest total (53) during the postseason.

As the Cubs hit the market for a new pitching coach, Nightengale mentioned that one name that could be on the radar is former Tampa Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, who parted ways with the organization following the 2017 season.

Hickey served as Maddon's pitching coach in Tampa Bay from 2006-2014.